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What I'm Giving | December 9, 2013 0 comments
In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily... Continue »
Wesley StaceDescribe your latest project.
It's a novel, the story of two boys called George Fisher: one a very chatty dummy in the 1930s recounting the ups and downs of his career, from papier mache mix to unlikely war hero; the other, a withdrawn and eccentric schoolboy in the 1970s who, in the search for a voice of his own, finds a paper trail leading straight to the dummy, now on mute display in a dusty museum, still holding the key to the family secrets, just waiting to be asked.
Patrick Hamilton (author of the original plays for Gaslight and Rope) is not much read and ought to be. If anyone likes seedy drinking novels though he's more Wodehouse than Bukowski look no further. But beyond that, he may be the funniest novelist I've read. Hangover Square a great book used as "inspiration" for a completely unconnected Hollywood movie is fantastic. Also wonderful are Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky, a trilogy of novels now available in one paperback volume (with more misprints than you can shake a stick at) and The Gorse Trilogy. But don't neglect The Slaves of Solitude (in America, it was called Riverside) which features his most monstrous creation, the crashing bore Mr. Thwaites. My favourite Thwaites moment, and one of the funniest things I've ever read: his discussion of communism in the tea-room.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
From The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck:
And perhaps a man brought out his guitar to the front of his tent. And he sat on a box to play, and everyone in the camp moved slowly in toward him, drawn in toward him. Many men can chord a guitar, but perhaps this man was a picker. There you have something the deep chords beating, beating, while the melody runs on the strings like little footsteps. Heavy hard fingers marching on the frets. The man played and the people moved slowly in on him until the circle was closed and tight, and then he sang "Ten-Cent Cotton and Forty-Cent Meat." And the circle sang softly with him. And he sang "Why Do You Cut Your Hair, Girls?" And the circle sang. He wailed the song, "I'm Leaving Old Texas," that eerie song that was sung before the Spaniards came, only the words were Indian then.
How do you relax?
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands and why did you read it?
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Another literary pilgrimage has a link with Powell's, in that I bought a book called A Literary Companion to Venice (by Ian Littlewood) in the travel section at Powells. My wife and I took this on our honeymoon a week in Lake Garda (home of Catullus) and a week in Venice and every day we took one of these walks, past where the Merchant lived, where Corvo fell in the canal and emerged with his pipe, where Coryate saw a hanging, and Ruskin complained about the hotel. Great.
What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?